News | Feb. 20, 2018

End-of-year printing completed early and on budget

By Amber McSherry, DLA Information Operations

The Defense Logistics Agency completed the 2017 end-of-year printing for Defense Finance and Accounting Service ahead of schedule and on budget, marking the fifth year the agency has done the job. Over 4.8 million tax and account statements, 2.6 million ACA statements, and 2 million retiree and annuitant newsletters were produced and packaged by DLA over just six and a half weeks.  

“I know this success does not come without sacrifice, commitment, perseverance, technical know-how and hard work across the organization,” said Edna Knight, director of Enterprise Solutions and Standards at DFAS.

The DLA employees at the Indianapolis, Indiana, print facility have the task of making sure these important documents are printed correctly and swiftly to ensure federal and retired federal personnel receive their forms in good time. Various people from contracting through the firewall team are involved in year-round planning. The planning team has weekly calls to discuss lessons learned, changes to be made and how to incorporate the latest developments and changes to systems.

“Every year the printing can be a little different due to changes in the tax law and concepts adopted by congress,” said Kirgan. “Some changes may be small – just a line or two – or a whole new mailing could need to go out, meaning millions more pages produced.”

The Indianapolis facility operates 24 hours per day, seven days a week, in three shifts during production season. The staff depend on help from contract personnel as well as the Great Lakes and Rock Island print facilities. The job takes every one of these employees and they work tirelessly through the holidays to make sure the printing is completed.

“It’s a very stressful time,  and everyone involved deserves a ‘Job well done’,” said Doug Kirgan, production manager for the North Region of DLA’s print facilities.

When it’s time to print, DFAS sends the data electronically and DLA converts the data streams to printable images. Much of this information is PII and treated as such. Processes are in place to ensure that the right information gets to each addressee: SOPs, bar codes, log books, tracking mechanisms, software, etc. Employees even have a specific way to pick up the stacks of paper. All documents are kept in order, tracked, logged and then sent to a mail distribution center to be consolidated with other mail and shipped in bulk, which greatly lowers the per piece cost.

DLA has never missed a deadline. In fact, Kirgan says the printing is usually finished a few days early.